4 Little Things That Are Ruining Your Customers’ Experiences

At the top of any retail manager’s list of priorities is the company’s bottom line. Without adequate profits, your business will go to the trenches and in some instances, so will your livelihood. Customer service is a major player here — customers are, after all, the reason you’re still in business. If their experiences with you are poor, they’ll take their business elsewhere and tell all their friends to follow suit. Avoid these customer service mistakes:

1. Call Center Woes

Does your retail establishment rely on the use of a call center to address customer questions or concerns? If so, have you confirmed callers are properly routed to the right representative in a timely manner? It’s not uncommon for customers to call in, get the runaround, wait an excessive amount of time and wind up getting disconnected. Chances are they may take their business elsewhere shortly after this type of experience.

Ensure your call center is adequately staffed with properly trained representatives. Consider transitioning to a cloud contact center to ensure your company’s equipped with the most up-to-date technology to properly route customers. This way, company representatives can focus on what matters most, which is providing exceptional customer service.

2. Untimely Responses

If a retail establishment strongly urges customers to give feedback on their experiences via survey or social media, how will they know that their opinion is valued? Offer some type of incentive and be diligent about your follow-up actions. Failing to do could appear like your company lacks in follow-through. Customers want their voices to be heard by management, and they want to feel like you actually care about their input as a valued customer of your retail establishment.

3. ‘The Customer’s Always Wrong!’

Yes, you read that correctly. And unfortunately, that may be the perspective of argumentative employees. This is not to say that the customer is always right, but make sure your employees’ customer service skills are up to par. It’s important they do whatever it takes to resolve conflict, so you will continue to earn business.

Another element of the equation you must also consider are the motives of the employee involved. Is their attitude a reflection of how they feel about the company, and is the job simply a way to pass time while earning money until the next thing comes along? You definitely don’t want employees who are punching the clock and sitting around totally disengaged in what’s going on around them. If they aren’t willing to properly serve customers, why should customers be willing to spend their hard earned cash?

4. Hidden Information

Whether you’re selling merchandise online or at a physical location, important policies should be easily accessible to customers. Consider adding a comprehensive Frequently Asked Questions page to your website that addresses potential customer concerns about returns, shipping, or any other pertinent matters. This information can be displayed at the checkout counter in a brick and mortar establishment or on the receipt. Also, prices should be clearly displayed on merchandise so customers won’t have to play the guessing game and get into a shouting match with your staff about a misinterpretation on their behalf.

Photo Credit: SocialMonsters.org with permission to use 

Retail Minded Debuts FIRST EVER Special Edition About Point of Sale & Maximizing Dollars

April 22, 2015 – Parker, CO – Retail Minded – the nation’s only retail lifestyle publication that works with a variety of retail focused associations and groups to deliver news, education and support – has released it’s first ever Special Edition. The issue focuses on Point of Sale, as well as offers insight on how retailers can further maximize their profit.

Time and time again, merchants ask us who to turn to for their point of sale needs. The questions that surround retailers and point of sale are never ending, particularly with the upcoming EMV change that is approaching this October 2015. With this in mind, Retail Minded’s Special Edition: Point of Sale was inspired and has since come to life. We are thrilled to share this issue with our Retail Minded Partners and subscribers, as well as extend it to anyone looking to gain point of sale insight,” shares Nicole Leinbach Reyhle, Retail Minded’s Founder and Publisher.

Joining Retail Minded in their efforts to support independent retailers with their point of sale and profit minded needs are Special Edition Sponsors Big Hairy Dog Information Systems, GiftLogic POS, One Step Retail Solutions, PayAnywhere, RICS Software and Vend POS.  Each of these respective companies aim to support merchants in achieving retail success through point of sale, and Retail Minded is proud to introduce them to our readers.

The readers of Retail Minded deserve to know the best point of sale solutions available for their businesses, and Big Hairy Dog Information Systems, GiftLogic POS, One Step Retail Solutions, PayAnywhere, RICS Software and Vend POS certainly are among these. We hope that our readers can turn to these providers in helping them reach their point of sale goals, and we’re proud to count each of these Sponsors as trusted point of sale vendors for our readers to lean on,” shares Heidi Ames, Retail Minded’s Partner Manager.

Here’s what readers can expect to gain from Retail Minded’s Special Edition: Point of Sale – 

  • What the Upcoming EMV Deadline of October 2015 Really Means to You!
  • Tips on Choosing the Right Point of Sale (POS) Solution for Your Store!
  • Insight on Why High Margin Inventory is Great for Business!
  • An Understanding of Balancing Inventory to Make More Money!
  • Ways to Help Manage – and Avoid – Your POS Security Risks!
  • Why Friction-Free Shopping is Ideal For You & Your Customers!
  • &  Much, much more!!!

Plus, gain contact information and resource details to point of sale vendors that include: 

Big Hairy Dog Information Systems

GiftLogic POS

One Step Retail Solutions

PayAnywhere

RICS Software

Vend POS

Promotion code ALLABOUTPOS (must be in capital letters) will get you a FREE copy of Retail Minded’s Special Edition now through June 30, 2015. Order your copy here… now!

 

Promoting & Protecting Your Business Online – A Retail Event

In today’s 24/7 global economy, all retailers are impacted by the internet even if you don’t sell online.

Do you want to learn how to handle online reviews, when to respond, how to respond?

Do you feel in the dark on cyber liability issues, what you can advertise, how and when?

Do you want to get on the social media bandwagon but not sure what types of social media benefit your type of retail and how to use it effectively?

Attendees will also have the opportunity to hear from Greg Kerr, Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, Inmar, discussing the challenges facing retailers as the work to integrate mobile and offer valuable insight and solutions.

During the networking prior to the event start, SnapRetail as well as other professional services will be available to demonstrate their solutions and discuss their services. Don’t miss this opportunity to answer your questions about social media and how technology can affect your business.

Promoting and Protecting Your Business Online

Friday, May 8, 2015

Winston-Salem Marriott

Click HERE to register!

Retail Minded subscribers can attend at the member price of $25!

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Indie Retailers Challenge Big-Box Stores on Social Networks

In the past, it was hard for consumers to find information. Businesses’ only option was to create brands to convey their product information. But today, new technologies and platforms have provided consumers access to information like never before. The consumer’s voice has become more powerful, memorable, and trustworthy than that of the brand. Furthermore, consumers no longer want the products that everyone else has– we want to be the trendsetters, the nonconformists.

This leaves big brands vulnerable to independent retailers.  Independent retailers have a unique strategy advantage—the ability to quickly build community around their niche products by leveraging the voice of their consumers.

Content generated by users is closely aligned with independent retail values and is easy to collect across existing social platforms. With user-generated content, indie retailers are able to spread brand awareness, capitalize on the mass-individualism trend, and build engagement-based loyalty.

  • Spread Brand Awareness

Name recognition can be a central challenge for independent retailers. However, social media channels can work as a megaphone for your brand name if you can encourage your customers to post about your brand. There are a number of ways to do this. First, if your brand does not have an evergreen hashtag, go ahead and create one. More often then not, your customers will have already created one for you. Hashtags make it easy for customers to discover and interact with your brand and it encourages them to join the conversation. Once you’ve established an evergreen hashtag, promote photo contests to incentivize participation. Photo contests are a powerful way to give your fans a reason to submit great content and share it with their own social communities.  

  • Capitalize on Mass-Individualism

Customers and fans love being recognized by the brands they love and support. Highlighting customer photos on your website, or reposting on your own social media is an efficient and effective way to generate more content and conversation around your products and brand. It’s a symbiotic relationship– you validate your consumers as trendsetters and they validate your brand’s social presence. When it comes to incorporating user-generated content onto your product pages, the post-purchase inspiration factor is invaluable. 

  • Build Engagement-Based Loyalty

When customers see brand’s celebrating their customers and engaging with real people, it helps to validate your brand’s social presence and reach a larger audience.

With their niche markets and targeted audiences, independent retailers are in a prime position to develop deep relationships with customers. By focusing on social listening (through brand mentions and hashtags), your brand can extend loyalty beyond upsell.  By turning customers into brand advocates, independent retailers can create a peer-to-peer megaphone of online brand endorsement. Ultimately, a brand is no longer what we tell the consumer it is—it’s what consumers tell each other it is.

Independent retailers looking to capitalize on the changing marketing landscape should leverage audience voice through user-generated content. This is your competitive advantage over big box stores.  Businesses that use customer content on their websites, apps, and advertising see better conversion and click-through rates, higher average order values, and increased engagement and lift.

Indie retailers should not shy away from today’s technologies, but rather embrace them as powerful means by which to surpass the competition.

Contributed by Juliet Carnoy, a marketing manager at Pixlee, a content marketing platform that helps brands leverage visual content generated by their customers to improve product marketing and help drive sales.

Small Business Public Relations: Tips to DIY

To many business people, public relations can be a little bit mystifying. Sure, most people with common sense know it’s wise to avoid making silly gaffes or revealing confidential financial figures when talking with a member of the press. But when it comes to proactively creating positive press for your brand and elevating your image, where do you start?

Do you turn to the arguably antiquated press release, or do you try to pitch some prominent publications and hope your business will get a little bit of coverage? The best answer for a small business starting out with PR is—neither. Begin with your blog.

Here are a few tips on why this approach may serve you best, and how to effectively pull it off.

Create a Posting Calendar

Your blog can be a powerful tool in your company’s arsenal. Not only is it something you can entirely own from start to finish, but it’s also something that can improve your SEO and drive traffic. Use your blog to become a valuable resource for your customers, to answer their important questions, and to give them a glimpse of your company’s culture.

To kick start this process, generate a posting calendar. This doesn’t have to be fancy, but it does have to be well thought-out. The goal of the calendar is to determine topics, the dates they’ll be posted, the format they’ll take, and who is responsible for contributing. Be sure to switch up the subject matter so it stays interesting.

Be Social—and Use Social (Media)

Your blog posts should regularly cover your company’s contributions to the community. Philanthropic efforts are appealing to customers and show that you are invested in your community. So go ahead and toot your own horn! Philanthropic businesses offer a much more complete view of themselves to their prospects, existing customers, employees, peers, and competitors.

Unsure of how to do this? Take a page out of Apple Rubber’s book. The company’s blog highlighted when its team celebrated National Engineers’ Week, and it also showcased the business’ involvement in National Walk Day. Follow their lead and document all community involvement, then make it social by sharing on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and beyond!

Make It Visual

Lastly, incorporate something visual whenever you can. If you’re sharing a blog post through LinkedIn, attach a related image. Enhance a post with an accompanying visual to help catch your audience’s eye. The more it stands out from all the other posts in their feeds, the better!

When it comes to PR, you don’t necessarily need to work with a costly agency in order to get results. If your objective is to see some more website traffic and draw in new customers, start with your blog. Create a posting calendar, get busy promoting your blog on social media, and remember to include aesthetically appealing elements wherever you can. You’ll gain some devoted fans, and your customers will find you to be a relevant and helpful resource.